The Long & Winding Road – Why your Direct Message is not working

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Theodore Roosevelt once said,”Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” 

So did a friend of mine when he explained to me the art of sales. I am sure many of us have heard this along the way and find it both insightful and useful. I used to work with a guy who would beat the customer up with statistics and data in a game of ‘intellectual muscle flexing’ , all this shortly before he failed to make a sale of course! I adopted the other strategy which served me well, a strategy also explained to me by a kindly old athletic coach at university. He said ‘Patrick, it is enough to know something, you do not have to let everybody know that you know!’ 

Sadly good old Mr Lipton is no longer with us but his powerful asides helped me to navigate the world of work as a young man. As we are pressurized into being increasingly more dynamic and successful we will, along the way also find times when we distrust the time honoured and proven ways to forge ahead. 

Mr Lipton also had an amazing ability to remember every-body’s name, and I mean everybody, every time. He always made me feel very special when he spoke to me, he never criticized or showed signs of disapproval but he did always offer another perspective. Obviously, because I liked him, trusted him and valued his experience, I often accepted his other perspective and followed his subtle advice. 

These are the principal attributes of a super salesperson. 

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason you know, listening and being interested is more potent than convincing…..


Like teaching, this business of ours is an art not a manufacturing process. I have commented previously on the folly of working by the numbers only, without understanding where the numbers are coming from. ‘Rocket Science’ it is not but so many people fall into the trap of using blanket coverage in social media as the default option which is supposed to keep them moving forward. All of us will have received ‘direct messages’ in one form or another as we make connections in our chosen social media platforms. Direct messaging is a great way to personalise a message and cement a fledgling connection. Let’s face it, getting a well crafted direct message is a good feeling….perhaps you might feel like I did when I would chat with Mr Lipton all those years ago. 

What we also experience is the dark side of direct messaging, the lazy and presumptuous side of direct messaging. I don’t know about you but when I first meet somebody I rarely ask them to buy something from me with my second sentence. Seriously? 

All too often we make the important initial connection and then screw it up in a heartbeat…..duh! 

What happened to getting to know somebody before you ask for commitment? Called me old fashioned if you like but it is pretty brazen to just hard sell something when you have no idea of who you are selling to…you don’t do it face to face so why do you think it is OK to do it via social media? Maybe it is the anonymity of the medium which tricks us into thinking that we can fail thousands of times a day as long as we ‘snag’ a few unsuspecting sales by close of business. Well, it is not OK and never will be. 

When you make a connection you have to nurture that connection, not just because there might be money in it for you but because there might be growth in it for you. Let us not forget that money is a magnifier, if you are a ‘jackass’ without money you will be a bigger ‘jackass’ when you have money. It is in the exchange of ideas and experience that we benefit, financial considerations come after. You never know with whom you are talking, how knowledgeable they are, how willing to help they are until you spend a little time with them…. so spend a little time and see what really is there for you to learn from.

Make a point to disregard these hard sell approaches from people who you don’t know, these people who think that the mere fact they are ‘connected’ to you allows them the right to get in your face and sell stuff to you…. they have not earned the right to ask for your money until they understand you and you understand them. If they can’t do that then walk away from them, quickly.


 So those guys knew next to nothing about anything, even though it was tongue in cheek it was not too far removed from reality. 

Knowing and liking the people around you is worth more than any financial bonus you can imagine because it lasts and is real. At 3rd Planet we work together because we like each other…period! 

We might not be the world’s leading exponents of our chosen areas of work but together we make a world class team, a team that understands each other and encourages creative work. There is no doubt that it works for us and it can work for you.

 Saying that …we could work for you too!!!! 

 see you on the long and winding road….. Patrick

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